Last night I awoke at 2AM to the sound of Israelis setting off a bomb not far from the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Deheishe refugee camp. The center, and the camp itself, are located on the old Jerusalem-Beit Lahem-Hebron road, the historic road that people have traveled on for centuries to move among these three cities. After hearing the bomb, which may have only been a sound bomb as there was no visible damage once I surveyed the street in the morning, I ran upstairs to the fourth floor to see if anything was visible on the street. It was hard to make out, but there were also gunshots fired by Israelis shortly thereafter. I didn’t see much after all of this transpired, but I also didn’t sleep well the rest of the night. The entire building shook from the bomb and I was shaken quite a bit as well.
It was ironic that this happened last night, as shortly before this I spent a wonderful evening at a friend’s home in Azza refugee camp just a couple of kilometers down the road closer to downtown Beit Lahem, and also closer to the Annexation Wall. They were telling me about the Israeli soldiers in jeeps who enter their camp and the Aida refugee camp across the street each night in the wee hours of the morning. They enter Deheishe every night as well, but I’ve never woken up or heard them myself. But they come in the middle of the night, and recently with greater frequency, to arrest people and haul them off to the prisons. I thought about all of this as I tried to go back to sleep. Aside from the scare tactics–or whatever it is they were trying to do last night–this is (or, rather, could be) a very peaceful place. After the soldiers left you could hear a pin drop on the street below. In fact, most evenings as I fall asleep I can hear the subtle, clean click of the pool balls in the snooker club down the street.
Of course, there was no news about this on the web or television this morning. Everyone’s eyes are focused on Ghaza–so much so that there was even very little to no coverage of what happened in Jenin yesterday, except for on Arab news channels. The Israelis also entered Jenin yesterday looking for members of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade. They surrounded a home where an azza (family in mourning/funeral) was taking place and waiting to arrest members inside. Amazingly, despite all this, the BBC news today could not bring itself to cover anything during its news hour other than its bus bombings one year ago today. Israelis killed 25 Palestinians in Ghaza yesterday and yet all that mattered in the eyes of the English reporters at BBC was that 52 people were killed last year.
Now, only a sleepless night will enable me to rest this evening. Insha’allah.